No NFL team has made the Super Bowl without having a 1000-yard wide receiver on their roster since 1995.
For the Minnesota Vikings to make it to the Super Bowl, it would have to be an incredible effort from the defense, special teams, and run offense, because this passing offense – even if WR Jarius Wright and TE Rhett Ellison get more involved – has historically bad weapons. The Vikings would be a unique case if they made Super Bowl XLVII, as the 1994 Chargers are the last team to even appear in a Super Bowl with WRs this statistically lacking.
Here I include the top seasons (yards-TDs, picking the season with the most yardage) for the lesser-known WRs on a list of each of the last 21 Super Bowls teams.
1990 Giants: Mark Ingram (824-3). Bills: 3 good-to-great WRs in Lofton, Reed, and Tasker.
1991 Redskins: Take your pick between Gary Clark and Hall of Famer Art Monk. Bills: See above.
1992 Cowboys: The Playmaker. Bills: See above.
1993 Cowboys vs. Bills re-match.
1994 49ers: #80. Chargers: Tony Martin.
1995 Cowboys: See above. Steelers: Yancey Thigpen (1398-7).
1996 Packers: Brooks, Freeman, Howard, Rison. Patriots: Terry Glenn had 1132 and 6 scores that season. Troy Brown was on that team.
1997 Broncos: Rod Smith. Packers: Robert Brooks and Antonio Freeman both had 1000 yards that season.
1998 Broncos: See above. Falcons: Martin and Mathis both went over 1100 yards that season.
1999 Rams: Bruce and Holt. Titans: Thigpen.
2000 Ravens: Stokley (over 1000 1X), Ismail (1105-6). Giants: Amani Toomer (1343-8).
2001 Patriots: Troy Brown (1199-5 that season). Rams: See above.
2002 Buccaneers: McCardell and Keyshawn. Raiders: #80 and Tim Brown.
2003 Patriots: See above. Panthers: Smith and Muhammad (well over 1000 yards in 2004).
2004 Patriots: See above. Eagles: Terrell Owens.
2005 Steelers: Ward. Seahawks: Darrell Jackson (1199-7), Bobby Engram (1147-6).
2006 Colts: 3 1000-yard WRs. Bears: Muhammad.
2007 Giants: Burress. Patriots: Moss-Welker.
2008 Steelers: Santonio Holmes, Ward. Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.
2009 Saints: Colston. Colts: See above.
2010 Packers: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver. Steelers: Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown.
2011 Giants: Nicks, Cruz. Patriots: Welker.
What I don’t mention is that ALL of those teams had at least one of their listed receivers reach 1000 yards BEFORE or DURING their corresponding Super Bowl season EXCEPT the 1994 Chargers of which Tony Martin had 885 and 7 TDs that year, and got 1224 and 6 TDs the next season.
So, no NFL team since the 1990 Giants has made the Super Bowl without having a WR on the team that at some point caught 1000 yards. The kicker: Their TE, Mark Bavaro, caught 1001 yards and 4 TDs in 1986.
To find the next team that made it to the Super Bowl with no active 1000-yard receiver at ANY position before the 1994 Chargers, you have to go back to the 1987 Denver Broncos.
The most recent NFL team to make it to the Super Bowl with a roster that had no player of any position that ever had 1000 receiving yards was the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Of the teams projected for the postseason, every other team has a 1000-yard receiver. None of the Minnesota Vikings receivers on their active roster have even reached 800 receiving yards in a season.
Vikings QB Christian Ponder has passed for 2701 yards, which is last in the NFL among QBs who’ve started the whole season. The sad irony is that – unless Michael Crabtree gets 67 receiving yards against the Rams today – the only 1000-yard receivers on the Seahawks (27th in net passing yards) and 49ers (25th in passing yards) are ex-Vikings Sidney Rice and Randy Moss respectively.
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